Digital subs drive revenue growth at FT

The Financial Times Group has reported adjusted operating profit up three per cent year on year to £31m on turnover up six per cent to £203m for the first half of this year.

The Financial Times has managed to offset declining print sales with a growing online subscription base.

According to parent company Pearson, which announced its half-year figures this morning, digital subscriptions to the FT rose 34 per cent to 230,000 in the first half of 2011 with registered users of FT.com up 49 per cent to 3.7 million.

Pearson claims a combined print and online paid-for circulation for the FT of 585,000, up four per cent on 2010, with a daily audience of 2.1m.

The FT reported “modest” advertising growing, with strong performance in luxury and online. But it said that demand for advertisingremains “volatile”.

FT Group also reported positive performance in its Mergermarket business information division.

Pearson’s 50 per cent stake in the Economist is also part of FT Group as is its 50 per cent stake in the London Stock Exchange.

The Economist magazine saw weekly circulation grow by 3.7 per cent in the second half of last year to 1.47m. According to Pearson, the FTSE saw headline revenue growth of 38 per cent.

Overall, Pearson reported turnover up six per cent to £2.4bn and adjusted operating profit up 20 per cent to £208m for the first half of this year. Operating profit was up three per cent to £132m.

Pearson said: “At the FT Group, the changes we have made to the business model and mix mean we are well placed to grow even in tough markets for print circulation and advertising. We expect digital subscriptions, now the engine of the FT Group’s growth, to continue to build steadily.”

Pearson makes the majority off its money from its education division and from the Penguin publishing business.

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